Talking about smell and taste loss with Headway Tyneside

Joanne Dixon, volunteer Support Coordinator for Fifth Sense, recently attended a Headway Tyneside meeting with Fifth Sense member Chris Harrison.  Joanne and Chris talked to group members about the impact of olfactory loss.  Here’s Joanne’s report on the experience.


As a volunteer for the Newcastle Fifth Sense Hub it was a pleasure to go along to Headway Tyneside support group meeting with Chris and talk about the good work Fifth Sense are doing. Headway is a national charitable organisation which supports people with brain injuries.


Chris and I chatted about our own personal experiences which encouraged some group members to join in and express how they have also suffered a loss of smell and taste as a result of their brain injuries.  This was followed by a good discussion how olfactory loss impacts on every day life.


The group then thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the jelly bean experiment.  Some participants were quite surprised when they released their fingers from their nose and were then able to taste the actual flavour of the jelly bean.  We then covered the labels of a few bottles of essential oils (eucalyptus, rose and lemon) and asked people if they could identify the smell – it kept them guessing for a while but it was good fun.


We received some good feedback on the night and hope to have a few new members join us as a result. Thanks to Kathleen Grieves, Community Development Office at Headway Tyneside and Rachel Lees, Occupational Therapist at Neural Pathways (UK) Ltd, we had the opportunity to meet a lovely group whilst also raising awareness of Fifth Sense.


Joanne Dixon
If you’d like to join the Fifth Sense Newcastle Hub then contact Joanne at


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